Fayette County woman now off of rejection after double lung transplant

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – She’s a Fayette County native, she’s a co-owner of Jean Ann’s Bridal and Prom in Beckley, she was Ms. West Virginia America and last summer, she was in need of a double lung transplant.

Now, we are happy to report that after receiving new lungs in September, Jennifer Skaggs is now out of rejection, but this has not been a quick and easy journey.

When we sat down with her last summer, Skaggs was hooked up to tubes and oxygen and waiting by the phone.

She was born with two rare conditions called situs inversus and Kartagener’s Syndrome which caused her lungs to start failing in 2015. That’s when doctors gave her two years on the lungs she had.

And then this past September, the life-changing call came. 

“There was a gentleman on the other line and he said, ‘Jennifer?’ And I said, ‘Yes?’ And he said, ‘We got you a pair of lungs.’ And I was just in shock, just kind of froze and didn’t speak,” she said. 

After her transplant in Cleveland, she faced several surgery complications and experienced rejection up until recently as her new antibiotics have been working. 

“I did actually go see the New River Gorge Bridge,” she said. “Not that I haven’t been there before, but we all know how many steps that is. And I had only done two flights of steps since my recovery, and I decided I was going to go down, and I was going to come back no matter how long I took, and I did it, so that was like a big accomplishment for me.” 

She still has a ways to go with her new lungs, but she’s grateful to be given this second chance and to have a community and a state that have been behind her the entire time. 

“They’ve actually helped me beyond belief because there were days where I just didn’t know that I was going to make it,  and that I wanted to give up so not just financially did they help me get me lungs, but they have helped me fight on these days where it’s just been so hard,” Skaggs said.

She will return to the Cleveland Clinic on July 7 to see how she is adjusting to the new medication, but she says she is feeling much better.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.